Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Burning Bluebeard. It was written by Jay Torrence and directed by Halena Kays. It was about a fire that happened in 1903 here in Chicago. There were a bunch of actors putting on a show in this giant theater, but they wanted to make fake moonlight for everyone, but then there was a fire. You get to go into the stories of the people who were in the show and why they did the show but also how they felt about the fire and what they wish they could have done. I saw this show before at the Neo-Futurists and I had a lot of fun then too. I thought it was equally awesome both times and I liked all the new things in it too. I think this was a little scarier because this space at Theater Wit was more like a theater and less like a house (the Neo-Futurarium reminds me of a house because there is a hall outside and it opens up to another room instead of a lobby) because the fire happened in a theater. I really loved this show and I think everyone should go see it unless you are a little-little kid.
The song "Rehab" was lip-synced by Robert Murray (Jay Torrence). Robert Murray was the stage manager for Mr. Bluebeard, the Christmas pantomime that was the show that was playing when the fire happened. "Rehab" is about a woman who is having troubles and Mr. Bluebeard is about a woman whose husband has locked all his wives in a castle and killed them. And his wife at the moment finds them and is very sad at that moment and is having troubles with that. Robert Murray the character would not have known this song, and that made it more funny because it was not at all in the style of music for that time. And it also made it even funnier for him to be in a dress when he has this big beard. His expression was very half-pan. If you don't know what half-pan means, half-pan is a word that I just made up. And it means to be slightly dead-pan but then to have little bursts of really feeling the song and then going back to dead-pan.
I really loved the Eddie Foy (Ryan Walters) sequence. Eddie Foy, I hope you are listening because this will be a first for you in the 21st century, but I thought it was hilarious. The Eddie Foy sequence was a bunch of acrobatics and a bunch of really terrible jokes. Terrible jokes, if you tell them in the right way, can be the best jokes. I really liked the Eddie Foy signature move which was that he twirled his finger next to his thumb and then made a gun position up towards the sky. It had to be funny because, if it wasn't, then it would seem like all those people who died in the Iroquois fire were stupid because they thought Eddie Foy was hilarious. Eddie Foy is not always a hilarious character, though, because he goes through some really painful stuff. A bunch of children die because he told them to sit back down and be calm. But I think he would have done the right thing if there hadn't been a wind that swished through and made the fire bigger.
I thought that Henry Gilfoil's (Anthony Courser) idea to give out half a cotton ball was a very cute and awesome idea because it would also give the kids something to remember the show by. I think that all the kids remembered the show but because of all the people who died. How he wanted to give all the kids cotton balls showed how he didn't want them to remember the show because of the fire but because of all the magic that happened. He doesn't seem at all like Bluebeard; he seems so much nicer than him. He just seemed like an actor who could play a part very well and pretend to be a horrible monster. Other characters talk about their childhoods, like Nellie Reed (Leah Urzendowski) talks about how when she was a kid her mother would give her a brooch and they had to pass it around among five sisters for special occasions. And she wants to give the children something to remember her by so she throws flowers into the audience when she flies over them. I think that they remember their childhood at this time because the show Mr. Bluebeard was for children and they wanted to make those children feel the magic part of the show. But then they ended up not being able to show the kids what they wanted to show them and the sad part is that the kids who died didn't get to remember their childhoods.
There was a new Clown (Pam Chermansky) this time and I thought she was amazing. She was scary because you think it is mental but she wants the fire to happen again. But then she was also funny sometimes, like how she slightly flirted with everyone who was even in the building. She even flirted with the audience. I thought it was really funny in the "Rehab" sequence when she came out on this camel cart and her hair was like blowing in the wind and her skirt was like flying up and she was making slightly sexy movements and it was just so funny because you see this clown coming out and doing this and it was just so funny. I thought it was great that they chose a female clown this time because you don't always think of female clowns when you think a clown, especially like a haunted house kind of clown--like an arsonist clown like she is.
People who would like this show are people who like 1903 humor, reasonable/not-very-reasonable snack-eating fairies, and halves of cotton balls. I think that people should definitely definitely go see this show. I had so much fun and so much fear and afterwards you are very sad about it but you are also remembering all the wonderfully horrible jokes, and "Rehab," and clowns coming out on camel carts, and flowers being thrown to the audience.
Photos: Evan Hanover